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Published by glennpease

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 28, 2011
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ISAACBy ALEXADER WHYTEISAAC LOVED ESAU BECAUSEHE DID EAT OF HIS VEISO[he patriarch Isaac presents but a paleappearance as he stands planted be-tween two so stately and so impressivepersonages as his father Abraham onthe one hand, and his son Jacob onthe other hand. Isaac, notwithstanding our famili-arity with his name, has hitherto made very littleimpression on our minds. Were we suddenly askedwhat we remember about Isaac, the chances are thatwe would get very little further than that memor-able day when Abraham took his only son, andbound him, and laid him on the altar, upon thewood. And, indeed, as we follow out the saddeclension of Isaac^s character to the end, it isforced upon us that it would have been well forIsaac, and for all connected with Isaac, thatAbraham^s uplifted hand had not been arrestedby the angel of the Lord. Had Isaac died on hisfather^s altar, an immense impression for goodwould have been made on all who ever heard of his submission and devotion; and, besides, thewhole after-history of Israel, and of the nationsaround Israel, woidd have been far purer, far morepeaceful, and every way far more happy. But allthat is in the tax future.Isaac, like oah and Lot before him, those twoother shipwrecks of the best early promise, made asplendid start In his early start in faith and in
obedience, Isaac by a single bound at once out-distanced all who had gone before him. We areso taken up with Abraham's faith and surrender iothe matter of Moriah, that we forget the splendidpart that Isaac must have performed in thatterrible trial; that magnificent triumph of faith andsubmission. I do not wonder that the Churchof Christ has all along persisted in seeing in Isaacan outstanding type of our Lord, and in makingMount Moriah a clear forecast of Grethsemaneand of Calvary. For, when it came to the lastagony beside the altar on that terrible hill-top — 'ot my will, but thine be done,' was wrungfrom Isaac's broken heart, just as long after-wards, and not far from the same spot, thissame surrendering cry was wrung from the brokenheart of our Lord. Josephus reports a remarkabledialogue that passed between Abraham and Isaacthat day, in addition to the dialogue that Mosesreports. As soon as the altar was prepared, and allthings were entirely ready, Abraham said to Isaachis son : ' O my son ! I poured out a vast number of prayers that I might have thee for my son. Andsince it was Grod's will that I should become thyfathei, it is now His will that I shall relinquishthee. Let us bear this consecration to Grod with aready mind. Accordingly, thou, my son, wilt nowdie, not in any common way of going out of theworld, but sent to Gkxl, the Father of all men,beforehand, in the nature of a sacrifice. I supposeHe thinks thee worthy to get dear of this worldneither by disease, neititier by war, nor by any othersevere way, but so that He will receive thy soulwith prayers and holy offices of religion, and willplace thee near to Himself, and thou wilt there beto me a succourer and supporter in my old age;and thou wilt there procure me Gkxl for my Com-forter instead of thyself.^ ow, Isaac was of sucha generous disposition that he at once answeredthat he was not worthy to be bom at first, if he
should now reject the determination of Grod and hisfather, and should not resign himself up readily toboth their pleasures. So he went up immediatelyto the altar to be sacrificed. The rest we knowfrom Moses. To which Josephus only adds thatAbraham and Isaac, having sacrificed the ram,embraced one another and returned home to Sarah,and lived happily together, Gk)d affording them Hisassistance in everything.'And Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi.'' Thatarrests us. That must have been intended to arrestus. And to make sure that it shall arrest us andshall not escape us, the sacred writer is not contentwith having told us that once; he tells us thatagain, and still more emphatically the second time.At the same time, having with such repeated pointtold us that, Moses leaves it to his readers to makeof it what they are able to make, and what theylike to make. Make anything of it, or not, therestands the {act — that, in broad Canaan, as soon asIsaac had a tent of his own to pitch, he pitched histent toward Hagar^s well. Hagar, you must re-member, had been Isaac^s mother^s maid. ot onlythat, but Hagar had been Isaac^s own first nurse.Isaac and Ishmael, the two innocent half-brothers,had learned their lessons together, and had playedtogether, till the two mothers fell out, and tillHagar and her unlawful son had to flee to thewilderness. But, little children never foiget theirfirst nurse, especially when she has such stories totell as Hagar had to tell little Isaac about thepalaces, and the pyramids, and the temples, andthe ile, and the crocodiles of Egypt. And then,as her charge grew up, in seasons of trouble andsorrow and mutual confidence, Hagar would be ledinto telling the devout little lad her wonderfulstory of Beer-lahai-roi. And that heavenly storytook such a hold of young Isaac that to the endof his life he never found himself within a day^s journey of Hagar's well without turning aside to

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